Antique Radio Classified
A.R.C.--The National Publication For Buyers And Sellers
Of Old Radios And Related Items--Published Monthly

Westford, Massachusetts February 18, 2001


Web Edition

"This has to be the premiere show in New England," said Tony Rizzini from Greenville, Rhode Island, as he tended his table at the Greater Boston Antique Radio Collectors' Radio XXXII on Sunday, February 18. The other 77 exhibitors occupying 106 tables in the spacious rooms of the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center in Westford, Massachusetts, seemed to agree. Business was brisk and the atmosphere was full of a sense of camaraderie. Even the weather cooperated, a relatively rare occurrence in this winter of frequent snowfall and frigid temperatures.

Comparing last year's attendance of 851 to this year's 911 and noting that all tables were sold several weeks ahead of time, we might conclude that only space will limit the growth of this event. In fact, last year, we opened an additional room to meet the demand for tables; this year, a second overflow room was required. The action in these rooms equaled that of the big hall, and there, first-time vendor Don Buja, among others, was enjoying his success. Don also had to take some ribbing about the fact that he is a Garth Brooks look-alike.

Alan Douglas, well-known 1920s radio historian
Would you believe that Alan Douglas, well-known 1920s radio historian, would be seen with a transistor radio?

Another sign of the general appeal of GBARC's meet was the number of hotel reservations -- 40 hotel rooms were booked for exhibitors, buyers, and their familes. No doubt family members have discovered the hotel amenities that make for a good weekend.

The two overflow rooms
The two overflow rooms proved to be just as busy as the main hall.

One reason for the steady growth in attendance is the extensive publicity efforts made by A.R.C. More than 350 press releases were sent to newspapers, museums, and radio, cable, and TV stations. Over 3,500 flyers were mailed to folks in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as New England.

Portrait of a delighted buyer
Portrait of a delighted buyer on his way home with a prize.

To top it all off, our Office Manager/Radio Event Coordinator Tammy DeGray arranged to be interviewed by WBZ Radio, Boston, for rebroadcast on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. Much to our pleasure, a number of attendees said they had heard the broadcast and decided to drop by to see what was going on. Another way to excite new interest in our hobby. Who knows -- maybe next year a TV spot too!

Once again, what the A.R.C. staff found most interesting about this event was meeting many people we know by name only. We receive their mail and talk to them on the phone about subscriptions, books, and articles, but rarely meet them face-to-face. This is our chance to find out what drives these folks to start before dawn in pursuit of yet another old radio or radio-related item.

Sam Petnov
After 60 years in the radio business, Sam Petnov is still a happy man. He'll go home to his 300 or 400 sets and make plans to attend another show.

One general answer seems to be the fun of the chase. Another is the pleasure of owning a piece of radio history. But even more enlightening are the clues we pick up in conversations with individuals about how far reaching their interests are. For example, everyone knows about Alan Douglas' dedication to radios of the 1920s. After all, he's written three volumes on the subject -- volumes that appear on most collectors' shelves.

But note our photo of Alan. What is he doing with a transistor radio on his table? Then, of course, there were his piles of old magazines -- 31 issues of this, 10 sets of that -- and little literary pieces, such as the booklet entitled, "Calling All DuMont TV Salesmen" selling for $1. John Kummer was offering "67.5¢", as he took a break from the TV sets on his own table.

Gary Busler and Wayne Swanson
Gary Busler and Wayne Swanson have a nice display of early 1920s equipment.

Ray Chase, our frequent auction reporter, is obviously interested in everything radio. But, just a portion of his vast sheet music, stock certificate, and postcard collections was on display. What we should have had on hand was a pianist in the lobby to perform some of those irresistible old titles: "Loud Speakin' Papa (You better speak easy to me)," "Wish There was a Wireless Heaven," and "Mr. Radio Man (Tell my Mammy to come back home)." In fact, we're told someone did sit down at the lobby piano to play "The Entertainer." Perhaps he'll be inspired by Ray's sheet music next year.

The Predicta
This little lady thought the Predicta might be an amusing substitute for her TV at home.

According to Ray, many of the postcards were of English origin, as in the 1920s and 1930s, England was way ahead of the U. S. in producing such cards. Two were eye-catching: "The Radio Enthusiast with the Single Hair-ial" -- a picture of a bald gentleman with a single hair standing upright on his head wearing earphones; and "This is Station H-O-M-E." picturing an unfortunate fellow being struck by his wife wielding a rolling pin.

Ray's display was a reminder that we have an article on a collection of postcards, matchbook covers, and reception reports already in our pipeline. This is a colorful, humorous, and space-friendly side of collecting enjoyed by many.

More in evidence this year was the presence of modern technology encroaching on the old via cellphones. Adam Schoolsky was able to chat in the concession room with A.R.C. Editor John Terrey and still field questions from his wife Jeannette by cell phone. She, of course, was "womaning" their table back in the big room.

Adam's happy face hovering over a radio on our cover somehow belies his claim that he must sell more of his excessive radio possessions and concentrate on repairing his 80-year old New Hampshire house. "But," said he, "with a radio, you can see the end, not so, a house."

Another happy face pictured in these pages is that of Sam Petnov whose been collecting since age 12 and only recently retired from his 60 years in his radio buy, sell, and repair business in Medway, Mass. Sam's collection of 300-400 pieces reflects his interest in anything odd or unusual. He too was assisted by his wife, a dealer in antique jewelry.

Wally Worth
Wally Worth would never be caught without a loop antenna.

In fact, one of the really nice aspects of radio collecting is how many couples and father/son teams are involved. Tom and Greta Perera's table displayed their special interests. They come every year to show his Internet telegraph museum at on a laptop. Tom, a professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, also sells books and CDs and buys and trades telegraph instruments and enigma machines.

Bill and Geri Rindfuss of Radio Daze, a radio and electronics supplier business in Mendon, New York, had the look of the professional operation that they are in their matching shirts. We knew we must be doing something right when Bill called the week after the meet to reserve his table for next year. Until we have a date set, we cannot take reservations, but we certainly won't forget his welcome request and enthusiasm.

The Rindfusses shared the news that the first part of the 5th edition of the Collector's Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser was on its way to the press. John and Kathy Slusser, proprietors of Radio Daze, now own the rights to the "Bunis" price guide books. We look forward to reviewing and selling this latest in a very successful series.

Pete and Jan Grave from Pennsylvania had the only Predicta TV on display at the meet. As the photo above shows, the Predicta was a draw for the collectors of tomorrow. Pete must have found a lot to interest him around the hall because he said that his specialty is, "anything big, black, and heavy."

Dave Crocker, "Mr. Crosley"
Dave Crocker, "Mr. Crosley" and master of the sales pitch, has a captive audience in Steve Imms.

The Graves were joined by the Tannenbaums, also from Pennsylvania, who were just viewers and buyers this year. Our subscribers know the A.G. Tannenbaum name well, as they are longtime A.R.C. advertisers of their business in electronic service data and parts in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Walter Johns, son-in-law Ken, and daughter Debra were also working as a family team. Their Zenith Trans-Oceanic and Sony interest is in keeping with Walter's career (and his Sony license plate) as a Sony rep for 37 years in Boston. Since his retirement, Walter has led the ideal collector's life -- traveling to shows.

Though Wally Worth has been in the radio collecting business for over 50 years, his son Ronald never seemed to take much interest. However, Ronald has been doing some electronic repair for Wally recently, and there he was at the meet looking the scene over. Perhaps we can hope that the next Worth generation will be writing about loop antennas, old New England radio manufacturers, and other "Topics of Worth."

An early morning crowd of exhibitors
An early morning crowd of exhibitors anxious for their table assignments.

A slightly different slant on why people attend this meet was illustrated by Bill Morse with his working Philco TV hookup to a VCR showing old shows, such as Milton Berle, "I Love Lucy," and the "Texaco Star Theater." Bill is not a collector per se but a professional repairman with a shop and showroom in a 3-story building he owns in downtown New London, Connecticut. This seems to be a no-nonsense business, worth a visit with your most recalcitrant repair problems.

In addition to tales of radio and repair, we pick up on other facets of radio history at a meet like this one. For example, Bob Merriam piqued our interest with his story of his campaign to include the Massie Wireless Station Building in the National Register. This building is located on the property of Bob's New England Museum of Wireless and Steam in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Many of you attend Bob's "Yankee Radio Tune-Up" every summer and appreciate the importance of Bob's museum to wireless and steam history.

Bob Merriam and A.R.C. Managing Editor Dorothy Schecter
Bob Merriam tells A.R.C. Managing Editor Dorothy Schecter about his efforts to include the Massie Wireless Station Building in the National Register. The building is part of Bob's New England Museum of Wireless and Steam in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

Both the old wireless building and a church were moved to this location in the 1960s. The church is a meeting house and library, while the wireless building houses the oldest radio station in the world which still has its equipment. It's easy to understand Bob's desire to preserve this monument to wireless communication and steam, and we hope to have a longer article in the future on his successful efforts.

With those modern technology giants, the Internet and e-mail, invading most of our lives, word about Radio XXXII is more widespread than ever. We've picked up quotes like, "It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning -- a good selection of radios, parts, and tubes" or "I had a great time at the meet," followed by a discussion of what the writer bought and sold.

As a result, we expect that Radio XXXIII will be bigger and better than ever. Be sure to watch for the first announcement in A.R.C. and get your reservation in early. We look forward to seeing you.

(Dorothy Schecter, c/o A.R.C., P.O. Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)

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Copyright © 1996-2001 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: March 31, 2001.

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Antique Radio Classified
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